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Acquisition Policy Flash! 13-11

What's Changed?

Determining Contractor Responsibility

Purpose:  To inform the VA Acquisition Workforce of a correction that has been made to VA PROCUREMENT POLICY MEMORANDUM (PPM) - Determining Contractor Responsibility dated August 12, 2013 (attached).  This PPM provides guidance to the VA acquisition community on determining contractor responsibility.  It prescribes policies, standards, and procedures for determining whether prospective contractors (and subcontractors) are responsible.  This Procurement Policy Memorandum rescinds Information Letter 049-08-03, “Use of Dun and Bradstreet Reports as a Means of Assisting in Determining Contractor Responsibility,” dated April 11, 2008 and Information Letter 049-04-1, “The Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) List, the Denied Persons List and Other Lists,” dated January 5, 2004.

Dated:  August 12, 2013

VAAR Section Impacted:  N/A

Effective Date:  Immediately

Expiration Date:  N/A

Background:  The Office of the Inspection General in their report entitled American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Oversight Advisory Report recommended development and issuance of comprehensive policy that clearly defines the appropriate procedures for the proper completion of adequate contractor responsibility determinations and related justifications.  FAR 9.104-1 covers the general standards for a prospective contractor to be determined responsible.

Correction:  The Contractor Responsibility PPM, signed on May 10, 2013, under Section 6, Solicitation Provisions and Contract Clauses, included provisions that should be inserted into in solicitations based on the contract value and other criteria:  1) Certification Regarding Responsibility Matters (52.209-5); 2) Information Regarding Responsibility Matters (52.209-7); and 3) Updates of Publicly Available Information Regarding Responsibility Matters (52.209-9).  The new PPM (attached) is corrected under Section 7 as follows:  The CO shall use the VA Class Deviation from FAR 52.209-5, Certification Regarding Responsibility Matters, issued under Acquisition Flash 12-25 on September 27, 2012, in solicitations where the contract value is expected to exceed the simplified acquisition threshold.  The class deviation shall be in effect until it is rescinded.

Applicability:  The requirement to determine contractor responsibility before making award applies to all initial procurement actions (contracts and orders).  All prospective contractors shall be checked against the Excluded Parties List System (EPLS) (see after receipt of offers, bids, and proposals and before any transaction (award, modification, etc.) is made with that contractor.

Additional Information:  Questions and comments should be addressed to the Office of Acquisition and Logistics (003A), Procurement, Policy and Warrant Management Service (003A2A) at (202) 632-5288 or email: